Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Putting "it" (a.k.a. your story) Out There

We seem to get these requests now and then so I figured I would address this most recent question about how to publish your story.
Night table
From Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings:
When someone you love has cancer... a hopeful, helpful book for kids

I am currently a 2nd year graduate student within the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. I am very much interested in writing a book  similar to your "Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings" book. I am blessed to know of a woman who is currently battling her second trail of breast cancer. During her second ordeal with this deadly disease, she learned that the cancer as spread to her brain. While she has every reason in the world to feel depressed and angry, she is still strong, encouraging and one one of the the most joyous individuals you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. I have proposed to her the idea of writing a book and she had agreed. I would like to know if you would honor me by sharing how you went about setting the tone for your book. Also how you went about finding a publisher and illustrator who had your best interest at heart. Again I am completely open to any piece of information that you may have. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon!!!!

Everyone has a story. The question is will other people find it of value and are you willing to do the work it takes to not only create (write, edit, illustrate, design and publish) the story, but then market it?  

To address the first question of setting the tone of the book. That is a very personal thing, meaning- who is your audience? In our case, I needed the words to tell my two young children about my cancer diagnosis,and Ellen had years of experience working with young children. That set our tone. We knew we wanted the language to be clear and easy to understand, as well as compassionate and empowering for children. We wanted my story - and our book to be a gift to other families.

In addition to finding an illustrator you need a book designer. Someone who can help you bring your vision to fruition. It's like finding the right producer for your music or your song. 

Self publishing (here is one of many links from a search) is big business these days. Once considered Vanity Presses and frowned upon, more and more people are doing it and there are many websites that will guide you through the process- for a fee.  So do your homework. Some will help you find an illustrator, may have a program to help you design your book, and even market your book for you. 

Our Team
Ellen (bottom center) and I, (top right) with our team of butterflies who helped
create and launch our book.
TOP-Dr. Beth Deutch (wrote forward, helped launch book) Claudia Ansorge- helped with title and marketing, Nanci
Bottom- Leslie Nicholson- editing, Ellen, Fran Waldmann- book designer

Ellen and I were fortunate to find a great team of people who believed in our story and wanted to help us.  They either did it for a nominal fee, traded for art (mine) or donated their time.  All were extremely generous. Many more have helped us along the way.  Marketing as been a learning experience- and encompasses many various grass roots methods. It was only recently (after 6 years, 5 printings and a Spanish edition) that we were approached and signed with  Montse Cortazar a literary agent who will be representing our book world wide.  The journey continues.

We wish you well on yours.

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